The holidays are right around the corner and this means shopping is, too. I’ve partnered with Simon & Schuster to celebrate girl power by sharing ideas for cool tween gifts that will encourage her to dream, do, create, and live her best life.

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Gifts for the Booklover

The Littlest Bigfoot series makes a great holiday gift idea for tween girls.

We have two new books to suggest as great adds to a tween’s library: Books one and two of The Littlest Bigfoot series. In fact, you may already have books by #1 New York Times bestseller Jennifer Weiner. She now writes for children, too, and this series is ideal for middle-grade readers ages 8-12 because it covers essential themes, including self-love, positive body image, and friendship. My daughter brought them to read on a recent trip to Albuquerque, and she’s almost done with the first book now.

She really loves it, and I think finding it very relatable. The main characters, two 12-year-old girls, deal with things like mean girls and body insecurities (and what tween can’t relate?) But the friends help each other figure out that what makes them unique is also what makes them awesome. I always want to encourage my girl to embrace herself as she is. This series hits just the right message.

The Littlest Bigfoot (Book #1 in The Littlest Bigfoot series) is about Alice Mayfair, who is twelve years old and slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one. Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan that dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star. Alice swears to protect Millie’s secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid…

Little Bigfoot, Big City (Book #2 in The Littlest Bigfoot series) continues the story. Twelve-year-old Alice Mayfair has a secret. She’s not human. But who—or what—is she? While Alice goes in search of her past, her best friend Millie Maximus, a tiny Bigfoot with a big voice, prepares for her future. Together they plan to sneak off to New York City, where Millie hopes to audition for The Next Stage, the TV show she’s sure will rocket her to stardom and free her from the suffocating expectations of her tribe.

Meanwhile, the Bigfoots have something, a chemical so powerful and dangerous that the government will do anything to obtain it. And Jeremy Bigelow is tasked with securing it once and for all. In an unexpected twist of fate, Jeremy, Alice, and Millie find themselves facing off at a crossroads. To determine where they’re going, they have to first figure out where they come from—and draw the line between what is good, what is evil, and what it means to be a hero.

My daughter reading "The Littlest Bigfoot" an excellent gift idea for tween girls.

To get a better idea of what the books are about, read excerpts from The Littlest Bigfoot and Little Bigfoot, Big City.

Gifts for the Social Butterfly

Does she like to express creativity through photography? These fun gadgets will help her print, organize and even improve her selfies. The HP Sprocket Photo Printer is easy to hook up directly to a cell phone for instant printing and will print photo in better quality than many of the popular instant cameras.

Tween girls tend to use their phones a ton for photos with friends and neat gadget that even many adults I know use (especially if they film video) is a ring light. Ring lights are helpful for selfies because they eliminate shadows around the face. Some people even use them to help with makeup when in rooms lacking much natural light. And, help her shoot more detailed close-up shots or fit large scenes into a picture with an inexpensive smartphone lens set.

Another fun idea for budding photographers is a gift certificate (amounts from $10 – $200 are available) to Chatbooks, an easy and inexpensive way to create really neat Instagram and other photo books via a smartphone app.

Gifts for the Sporty Tween

We love Athleta for its mission to create a community of active, healthy, and confident women and girls. Its line of Athleta Girl clothes is cute, comfortable, and made with the planet in mind.

My daughter is a big fan of their sweatshirts and accessories like headbands (every time I take girls into this store, they head straight for the water bottles and headbands).

And let’s not forget the Hydro Flasks!

Gifts to Keep Her Inspired

From wall decals to pillow covers, motivational sayings are popular with tweens at the moment. Etsy is full of inexpensive framed quotes. As we are a traveling family, I particularly like the travel-inspired wall decals, including a scratch-off map!

Or let her create your own sayings with a letterbox or letter board. My daughter loves her letterbox, and we’ve gifted them to several of her friends. Both come in different sizes. We particularly love the mini keychain letterbox.

Gifts for the Creator

If the tween in your life is constantly making things, consider these fabulous gifts. At the top of my tween’s holiday list this year is a sewing machine. Or, a 3D pen lets you doodle and create off of the page.

She’s also mixing up smoothies like crazy. We’re keen to try this Zoku smoothie maker that freezes fruit instantly into a smoothie. There’s no blender involved.

While you could buy individual washi tape rolls to, inspire her to create with a washi tape book full of over 100 craft ideas or how about some slime?

A good travel book for tweens is "The Littlest Bigfoot".

What tween gifts does the girl in your life love?

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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